When I was much younger Joi came to me as a present for graduation. I had finally finished college and was gifted a 4-month-old lab mix which I had wanted for some time. I had no idea what kind of crazy I was getting into. No amount of preparations made this hurt any less. No amount of bucket list made this any easier. And only in time will it be less sad.

First day home and her first of many baths (4 months old)

Joi was quite the pup: destructive and rambunctious but also loving and gentle. I had her for over 12 years. She was a bit spoiled and used to hold a grudge if I went away for a weekend but quickly decided to forgive me. Joi had bad hips and a bad shoulder since very early in life so she enjoyed pillows and snuggles.

She was so feisty and quite the handful

And sometimes she didn’t understand how big she was

She attended all the special events

Road trips

She tolerated all my crap… all the festive outfits

Joi always knew her first job was to make her person smile

She always knew her place mainly on as many pillows as possible

There was even a time when we tried to pretend she was not allowed on the bed

She eventually destroyed this couch by chewing an cinnamon aerosol spray on it… basically macing herself

Surprise fishing! She later fell off this pier in to the river

Always the diva, she had her own photoshoot

The occasional road trip to the beach or special trips for ice cream, and she was so no pleased when we got Chloe but learned to love her.

As Joi got older I started to try to prepare for the fact she was going to die. I tried to ready myself for this day but it was pointless… it still hurt just as bad as ever.

She was always helping with the boring parts of life

She was always somehow slipping under the couch

In her later years she still loved the water, but only if she was allowed to be in the floats

Group trips for ice cream! Her sister pup Chloe never liked being in the car

She kept her siblings in check, always keeping the top dog status

Her adventures became smaller, but still just as fun. She rolled in dead duck on this walk. Somehow she always found a dead bird when letting off leash.

She told us it was time. Joi was old and clearly less mobile but she still played with her siblings and was delighted by any kind of food, but over a few days, she seemed to not be happy or excited about food.

Many tests found no real answer and over the weekend she stopped wanting any food. It happened very fast. Sunday she followed me upstairs for bed but last night we had to carry her.

Snuggle your pups extra and give them a rich life. They have so little time and deserve all the best, which I hope is what I gave to Joi. Because she gave me everything she had for her whole life and even on her last day she got up to greet me when I came home from the store.